Static electricity becomes a problem in many industries when the relative humidity is low.  In temperate climates, this drop occurs seasonally, generally in the autumn and winter when heaters are turned on indoors.  However, in arid climates, this can be a year-round problem. Eliminating the build-up of static electricity in manufacturing environments can be achieved through humidification. Raising the moisture content of the air is a good way to minimize or eliminate electro-static discharge.

How industry is affected

Industries like printing, paper, packaging, plastics, textiles, electronics, wood-finishing, automotive manufacturing and pharmaceuticals are particularly impacted by problems relating to static electricity. As an example, let’s look for a moment at how static affects printing operations. Static electricity builds in the substrates of the printing presses causing dust attraction, cling, drag, and potential shock to operators.  It occurs when layers of plastic or paper in contact with each other are suddenly pulled apart, or slide across each other, causing a buildup of negative charges, or electrons. The attraction of dust to these surfaces is caused by electromagnetism.  Dust particles are electrically-neutral, so they are attracted to surfaces with a buildup of negative charges.  The problem is exacerbated when operators handle the substrates. Dust particles land on the screen, attracted by the static buildup, and can cause noticeable defects in the print run.  This can become a costly and constant quality control issue resulting in lost productivity, waste, and product returns.

Why Control Systems Can’t Keep Up

Industrial machines generate heat.  Heat dries the air.  Many manufacturing plants combat this with in-duct humidity systems.  The problem, however, is within and around the machines themselves.  The heat generated by large industrial machines essentially ‘use up’ the moisture content in the surrounding air. This can result in the creation of a microclimate of sorts for the machinery. Systems that aren’t sensing the humidity levels in those specific areas may not be adding enough humidity into the space.

The MicroCool Solution

MicroCool systems work on the principle of humidification.  Increased humidity in the environment reduces static buildup.  A static charge is dissipated to the surrounding atmosphere in a humid environment because the negatively-charged electrons are absorbed by the water molecules in the air. MicroCool systems offer precision humidity control.  This not only mitigates static electricity, but also the dust that it attracts to printing surfaces.  Utilizing our sensors, controller and by pulsing the humidity, through our MicroCool FOCUS system, we’re able to introduce a highly precise form of humidity into the air. Need more info about MicroCool’s custom-tailored humidification solution for your application? Call 800-322-4364 to speak to one of our knowledgeable professionals or email fog at microcool.com.